Saturday, June 14, 2008

More vegetable change-outs

After a few more days of HOT, terribly dry weather, while busy with other things, I went ahead and harvested one of the potato beds in the satellite, since the tops were pretty much 'flopped' over. The soil is dry in spite of watering, and it didn't seem like much more potato growth was likely.

I mixed in compost, set up a couple of trellises, and am now thinking about whether to plant yard-long beans, pole beans, or squash. One of my personal 'rules' is that gardening (whether vegetables or otherwise) should be fun, and once I start worrying about 'chores' -- this is not a good thing.

Having too many beans, or squash, or lots of anything to preserve that requires lots of prep work -- this is not fun. Productive and sustainable, yes, but some things are more fun to do than others. Slow-roasted tomatoes, for example.

Actually, yard-long beans are super easy to prepare and squash and zucchini, too. But I'm looking at the potato and garlic beds yet to be harvested and thinking about things there, too. Hmmmm, maybe some more tomatoes? Or mulch until planting the fall beds (in late July, August, and September?) I think I need to rotate even easy to grow plants like garlic, so I'd better make a couple of notes about which bed had what in it!

I think I'll put in a mixture of yard-long beans, cowpea, and 'Italian summer squash' - Lagenaria siceraria 'Longissima' edible when eaten young and then growing into a gourd. Since gourds and squash cross pollinate readily, it will be interesting to see what these are actually like. All of these are vigorous growers, appreciate heat, tolerate drought, are disease and pest-resistant, and are tasty!

And they like to grow on a trellis.

3 comments:

  1. I've especially enjoyed your last few posts on changing out vegies. I'm doing the same and thinking ahead to the fall change-outs as well. Have you tried growing onions or potatoes in the fall here? I'm wondering if it's possible to start an "early" type potato or "short day" onion in this area in fall (maybe from onion seed I'd start sometime in the next month or so). I'd be happy with an onion I could harvest in late fall as scallions. Purple scallions would be very cool. I have a "free" 4x4 raised bed that I can fill with alliums for the fall/winter. Will do part in garlic and leeks but will have some room for an onion-- maybe one I could harvest early for scallions? As for potatoes, I'm not so sure about a summer start for late fall harvest given our heat, but can't see why we couldn't over-winter them if planted a little later. It's frustating-- the Extension lit is a little out of date in general given our warmer/droughtier conditions these days and really doesn't address fall planting very well anyway. Appreciate any insight and appreciate the blog in general-- nice to read something on local growing.

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  2. I did put in potatoes last summer (in mid-July) and had a nice fall crop, although smaller than in spring. The fact sheet from Extension had suggested it was possible, so I gave it a try. I'm thinking that I ordered seed potatoes from one of the Maine potato growers (Wood Prairie Farm), to have them available to plant.

    I've just started experimenting with scallions, but I'd think that any scallions or bunching onions (Allium fistulosum) would be worth trying in fall. It might be interesting to try sowing onion seeds now (I have LOTS from my bunching onions), and see if you have young onions (scallions) that are tasty in fall.

    Thanks for your comments! -- I think we don't appreciate our long growing season here in the Southeastern U.S. as much as we should. Barbara Pleasant's book 'Warm Climate Gardening' was an excellent reference for me, after being inspired by Elliot Coleman (uh, if he can grow all these things in Maine over four seasons), why not here?

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  3. I think I'll give the onion seeds a try; Territorial has some fun-sounding ones. Southern Exposure has some bunching and "potato" onion sets that are tempting me as well. Check out Ronniger's potatoes and onions too-- although they've sold out of most for the season. After all this heat and drought here (already!), I'd like to be up in Maine with Wood Prairie, Eliot and Barbara Damrosch. Fall may indeed be a far more enjoyable time for us to garden here than the traditional "gardening season." But then there are the surprises: while my supposedly very heat/drought tolerant Ozark Pink tomato's leaves are curling due to heat stress, the delphiniums I started from seed last September are STILL blooming as though they were in Maine. Go figure...

    I keep running across references to B. Pleasant's book-- must get it. Frances Worthington's guide (sadly OOP)is also very helpful. I'll let you know how I come out with the potatoes/onions. Always look forward to reading your posts.

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